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The top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks take on their in-state rivals, the Kansas State Wildcats, on Saturday afternoon in what will surely be a testy and energy-filled environment. Not many games between the number one team in the country and a 9-19 team would get much attention, but this is no ordinary game. Besides the fact that they both call the state of Kansas home, the Jayhawks and Wildcats engaged in one of the ugliest on-court incidents in recent memory when they last played on January 21. Kansas won that game at home by a score of 81-60, but the only thing anyone remembers from that game is the way it ended, with a bench-clearing brawl that led to multiple suspensions afterwards. The Wildcats are coming off a 25-point win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys, 83-58. The Wildcats lost to the Baylor Bears on Tuesday by a score of 85-66.
Jayhawks win 13th straightThe Kansas Jayhawks have had no trouble covering the spread recently, as they have covered the spread in six straight games, with four of those games coming as a favorite of eight points or greater. In their 25-point win over Oklahoma State, they were 15-point favorites. In their previous game, they defeated Baylor by three as a 1.5 point underdog.
Kansas returned to the number one ranking this week and celebrated by destroying the Oklahoma State Cowboys, outscoring them by double digits in each half. The Jayhawks had five players score in double figures, led by Udoka Azubuike with 19 points and Ochai Agbaji with 15 points. Lindy Waters III scored 11 points, while David McCormack and Christian Braun added 10 points apiece off the bench. Azubuike also added 16 rebounds for a double-double. Kansas, whose biggest lead was 36 points, shot 43.8% from the floor and 35.7% from three-point range.
"It was kind of rough at first, you know, starting to get going," Agbaji said, "but the coaches, they did a good job of getting us pumped up for the game. We just had to come into this game with a lot more focus, because you have to finish out the rest of this conference season."
The Jayhawks have won 13 straight games heading into this contest. Their only three losses of the season were to Duke, Baylor (both of which were ranked fourth when they played them), and Villanova (who was 18th). They are currently projected as the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. They overtook the number one ranking when they defeated then second-ranked Baylor last Saturday.
Devon Dotson leads Kansas with an average of 17.9 points per game this season. Azubuike averages 13.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, while Agbaji comes in with 10.1 points per game. The Jayhawks are shooting 48.7% from the floor and 35.2% from three-point range.
Wildcats lose eighth straightThe Kansas State Wildcats lost their eighth straight game on Tuesday, losing to Baylor by 19 points as they failed to cover the spread as a 14.5 point underdog. They were 5.5 point favorites as they lost to Texas by 11 points last Saturday. They have failed to cover the spread in five of their last six games.
Against the Bears, the Wildcats fell behind by a 50-24 score at halftime and never challenged Baylor in the 19-point decision. Cartier Diarra led Kansas State with 19 points in the loss, while Dajuan Gordon added 12 points off the bench. Mike McGuirl scored 10 points for the Wildcats, who shot 44.9% from the floor and 41.2% from three-point range. They allowed Baylor to make 13 three-pointers, as they only made seven. Kansas State trailed by as many as 34 points in the game.
"We were kind of hoping they wouldn't be ready to play, but obviously they were ready to play," Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said on espn.com. "Some of it is our defense, not quite where we have been in the past, some of it is they made some tough shots."
The Wildcats won their first four games of the season and six of their first nine, but it has been mostly downhill from that point, as they have lost 16 of their last 19 games. One of those wins, however, was against then-12th ranked West Virginia on February 1. Xavier Sneed and Diarra lead Kansas State's offense, scoring 14.0 and 13.1 points per game, respectively. The Wildcats are averaging just 64.3 points per game this season, while they are shooting 41.3% from the floor and 31.9% from three-point range.
Trends found on oddsshark.com:
- The Wildcats are 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall
- The Jayhawks are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall
- The Jayhawks are 4-1 ATS in their last five games versus Kansas State
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Kansas has been double-digit favorites in three of their last four games and has covered the spread easily in each of those games. Overall, they have covered the spread in their last six games. The Jayhawks have won 13 straight, and look to have regained the form that took them to number one earlier in the season. They are the best team in the country right now and Kansas State will be no match for them in this game. The Jayhawks beat the Wildcats by 21 points earlier in the season, and the same fate awaits Kansas State on Saturday. The Wildcats have failed to cover the spread in five of their last six games. Kansas has one of the best offenses and defenses in the country, while Kansas State has an awful offensive team, so take Kansas to cover again.
Prediction: Kansas -11.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams combine to score about 140 points per game this season, and the first game between these two teams totaled 141 points. You can expect the same type of game in this one, minus the bench-clearing brawl (hopefully). During their 13-game winning streak, Kansas has put up at least 66 points nine times, including four games over 80 points. The Jayhawks have the 10th best shooting team in the country and the 79th best three-point shooting team, while the Wildcats are ranked 197th in opponents field goal percentage and 244th in opponents three-point shooting. Kansas is headed towards the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, so don't look for the to let up any, especially against Kansas State. The Jayhawks win in a rout.
Prediction: Over 131.5